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5 Dishes to Try in Indian Restaurants

Updated on March 9, 2010

Indian gastronomy is among the most diverse cuisines of the world and with their expertise in using dozens of different spices I can understand why. There is a common misconception that Indian dishes are full of spices including seriously overused curry, fat and are generally not healthy at all. 

This could not be further from the truth as there are several recipes in India that use one key spice to enhance the main ingredient and there are hundreds of foods that use only 2-3 spices in total. It's as incorrect as assuming Italian kitchen to serve everything with pasta.

There are a few signature, or key dishes you should try if you'd like a more complete understanding of Indian gastronomy.

Chicken Jalfrezi
Chicken Jalfrezi

1. Jalfrezi. It roughly translates to hot fry. These dishes are usually made of chicken or lamb, less commonly beef is also used. Before ordering jalfrezi I'd point out that the meat is stir fried with pepper, chili, onions and tomatoes often making the end product seriously hot. Most often served with pan fried or oven baked Indian flatbread chapatis or naans.

2. Kashmiri. The name comes from the northern part of India and usually means rich, creamy dishes with lots of dried fruit, nuts and spices like cinnamon. Served with chapatis or naans (both are types of Indian flat bread) and on its own with rice too. If you don't like hot flavors these dishes are for you as they're almost always mild.

3. Madras. Coming from the south of India, where some of the best peppers and chili grow, this is a very hot food. Made with chili, peppers, mustard, onion and tomatoes it's served with plain boiled rice, but goes well with different kinds of bread as well. If you think you can take it I suggest you order lentils as a side dish to take out some of the heat.

Jalebi
Jalebi

4. Jalebi is a well known and really popular dessert in India and the surrounding countries. It's made with flour and yogurt. After deep frying the golden circles are put into sweet syrup. I suggest trying these at least once.

5. Shrikhand is made of yogurt and dried or fresh pieces of fruits. After hanging the yogurt for a while in a cloth to remove excess water, sugar and pieces of fruits are mixed into it. It's a very popular part of vegetarian servings and as desserts on wedding feasts.
 

Indian kitchen is really versatile, there are probably about as many recipes as many families there are in India but it's safe to say that using fresh and quality ingredients most of them deserve to be tried at least once, who knows maybe you'll like one so much you're going to try it at home. 

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